People with Photographic Memory

Some brains have mental capacities that are truly astonishing, such as the ability to have photographic memory.
Some brains have mental capacities that are truly astonishing, such as the ability to have photographic memory. | Source

I wish I had photographic memory, but I don't. Very few people in the world have been endowed with a great mind that allows them to remember everything in specific detail. Because such minds are a rarity, the few who possess these prodigious minds usually make news. Here’s a list with a few people whose names are worth remembering.

Kim Peek (1951-2009)

Probably the most well know “idiot-savant”, Kim Peek was the inspiration for the famous movie Rainman. Allegedly, a series of brain malformations caused Peek to have a prodigious memory, allowing him to remember the content of more than 12,000 books and have a 10,000 year calendar in his head. Although he couldn’t button his shirt due to difficulty with motor skills, and despite his low scores on IQ tests (87), Peek has made history, and is now widely known as the “megasavant.”

How's that for photographic memory?

Kim Peek was the inspiration for the movie "Rainman."
Kim Peek was the inspiration for the movie "Rainman." | Source

Harry Lorayne (1926 - )

Magician, illusionist, and writer, Lorayne has written several books on the subjects of memory, mnemonics and magic. To demonstrate his mnemonic techniques, he memorized the names of 1,500 people introduced to him during one of his conferences.

Daniel Tammet (1979 - )

His astonishing memory capacities are due to a rare neurological-based condition called synesthesia, in which stimulation to one of the senses causes stimulation to another sense. On March 14, 2004, in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, United Kingdom, Tammet recited by memory the number pi , with a total of 22,514 digits.

The Islamic Hafiz

In the Islamic religion, anyone who memorizes the Quran is known as a “hafiz”, or guardian. If a person memorizes an ayah a day (ayah is the smallest unit of the Quran), it would take 17 years, 7 months and 9 days to memorize it completely. By my standards, anyone who is able to memorize the Quran, deserves a place in the prodigious minds wall.

Daniel Tammet
Daniel Tammet | Source

Solomon Shereshevsky (1881-1958)

Russian journalist, Shereshevsky was able to memorize mathematical matrices instantly, as well as poems in different languages. He was diagnosed with a strong version of synesthesia, which could have been responsible for his astounding memory performance. He was able to reconstruct minute by minute every day of his life.

Some people might argue that photographic memory doesn't exist. But these people are surely gifted, and they possess a great mind, whether you call it photographic or something else.

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Comments 2 comments

cathylynn99 profile image

cathylynn99 5 years ago from northeastern US

i once knew a fellow doctor with an eidetic memory. medicine is a good use for such a gift. i don't see the value of memorizing pi.


Silver Q profile image

Silver Q 5 years ago Author

I agree with you. There are a lot more useful ways to use such a gifted memory. Maybe he just memorized pi as a hobby. :)

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